Monday, January 28, 2013

The Yellow Edsel

I have been informing you of the history of the striptease industry in Vancouver but today I am going to take a break. Last year, I went on a guided tour of Mountainview Cemetery and I happened to attend the tour that was on murders and such - right up my alley! The guide recommended two books and one of them I am referencing today. I am telling you about a murder told about in the book Policebeat, 24 Vancouver Murders by Joe Swan.
Just a little note. These night photos were taken from my balcony and I describe this view in the first chapter of Missing Flowers.

In 1958, Harry Randall lived in a large Victorian house at 496 East 55th Avenue. His wife, Florrie, had left him in 1941 because she 'just couldn't take it any more'.

Randall sealed off the doors to the front rooms of the house - leaving everything the way it was when Florrie left. Perhaps he was hoping she would come back? For the next seventeen years, Harry neglected this once elegant home - not doing any upkeep or housework - and the house began to fall apart around him.

Outside of his home though, Randall kept up appearances. He was well dressed and a successful businessmen. He drove around town in a brand new yellow Edsel - a vehicle he boasted to his brother was worth much more than it appeared to - taking all his meals at restaurants where he would flirt with the waitresses. He even dated though rarely the same woman twice.

The only people who came to the house on East 55th Avenue though were the burglars who were convinced that Randall had a fortune hidden away in there.

On October 27, 1958 - a Monday - Randall's next do neighbour, Phillip Hall, noticed a man of the same build as Randall get into the Edsel drive away. However, whereas Randall was a cautious driver, this man drove quite quickly and this roused Hall's suspicions.

From the rear of his property, Hall looked to his neighbour's house where he saw a beaten and bloody Harry Randall come out of the basement. Hall requested a neighbour to call the police while he went inside to check on the other man.

Harry Randall was taken to Vancouver General Hospital where he died on November 7th. His skull had been fractured in the beating and although numerous operations were performed in an attempt to repair the brain damage, Harry never regained consciousness before passing away.

The Edsel was found and not long after, Randall's wallet was recovered. There was no money in it but it did have a list of numbers that related to various denominations of Victory Bonds owned by the murder victim.
Efforts to locate the bonds were proving fruitless until Randall's brother remembered what Harry had said about the Edsel being more valuable than it looked. The Edsel was being held in the police garage so Harry's brother accompanied the police officers to the garage where a thorough search of the car was made.

Hidden in the panelling built into the side walls of the trunk, were the missing bonds. They were intact and the numbers matched those in the wallet.

Although the police worked hard on this case and followed all possible leads, the case did go cold. To this day, it remains unsolved.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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